HSHS Hospitals Identify Top Community Health Priorities

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Breese and Highland, and HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville recently conducted its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), an assessment that is done once every three years. The CHNA is a process involving the community to identify and analyze community health needs, as well as community assets and resources, to plan and act upon priority health needs. This process results in a report, which is used to develop implementation strategies based on the evidence, assets and resources identified in the CHNA process.

“This process is extremely important to our hospitals,” said Amy Liefer, Director of Philanthropy and Community Engagement at all three hospitals. “Through this assessment, we are able to draw a road map of how we want to address these high priority health needs in each of our communities. We are also able to develop strategies which create or expand community partnerships to have a broader reach than just the hospital.”

All three hospitals conducted separate assessments, with all partnering with the Survey Research Office at University of Illinois Springfield. The Survey Research Office provided data for a secondary data analysis of demographics and health statistics in the state and counties of each hospital. In addition, the Survey Research Office conducted focus groups made up of community members and patients at each hospital to obtain primary data for the assessment.

Through this process, the hospitals each identified the same top four health priorities in each of their primary service areas. Those priorities are: Obesity; Mental Health; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use; and Access to Care.

“This is the first time, to my knowledge, that the hospitals have identified the exact same priorities in their assessments,” said Liefer. “It really emphasizes the degree to which these needs are impacting our community. The statistics found in the report were surprising to many in our community.”

A major complication from obesity is diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease and have a greater chance of a heart attack or stroke. As seen in the graph below, the county rate for diabetes is only slightly higher than the state rate, though the rate for the county has been on the rise since 2008.

In Madison County, the issue of mental health can be seen through the percentage of the Medicare population diagnosed with depression. This population was higher than the state rate, with 19.7 percent of the Medicare population diagnosed with depression between 2010-2015. The statewide average was 15.1 percent. The graph below shows the changes since 2010.

Heavy drinking and binge drinking for adults in Clinton County is higher than the average of the state. Binge drinking is defined as consuming more than four (for women) or five (for men) alcoholic beverages on a single occasion in the past 30 days, while heavy drinking is defined as drinking more than one (for women) or two (for men) drinks per day on average. The rate of heavy drinking in Clinton County is 16 percent, which is much higher than the state rate of 9.9 percent. Similarly, binge drinking in Clinton County for both sexes is much higher than the state rate, with the combined total for the county at 31 percent while the state rate is 22.4 percent.

Affecting access to care in all three hospitals’ primary care area is the delay of state reimbursement for Medicaid and Medicare. This has resulted in some medical practices closing or providers no longer accepting public insurance. Consequently, this has left some families who depend on Medicare or Medicaid without a local doctor. Oftentimes, the only medical provider who will accept their insurance is out-of-town or even out-of-state, leading to further issues with transportation. Each hospital created an implementation plan with strategies to address each of the identified priorities. The hospitals will work together and with local agencies and organizations to implement these strategies over the next three years. The full CHNA Reports and CHNA Implementation plans can be found on the hospitals’ web sites at www.stjoebreese.com, www.hshsholyfamily.org, and www.stjosephshighland.org under their “Community Connection” pages.

For more information about the CHNA reports, please visit the hospitals’ web sites, or call Amy Liefer at (618) 651-2589. HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospitals in Breese and Highland and HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville are part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon and HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham.

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